Cutting a Tenderloin

1. Arrange an untrimmed beef tenderloin in front of you, with the tapered end to your right and the wider, butt end to your left.
2. Using a knife, trim off the long, 1"-wide strip of muscle, known as the chain, that runs the length of tenderloin; reserve for stew meat.
3. Use your fingers to find the seam separating the "ear" (the large, 10"-long lobe extending from the side of the butt end) from the rest of the tenderloin. Separate ear along seam.
4. Trim fat off ear; cut it crosswise into three 2"-3"-thick steaks.
5. Working with the other side of butt end, cut and remove 2 smaller lobes using same method as above; these can be treated as steaks and pan-seared.
6. Pull fat membrane off tail end; it should come off easily.
7. Slip tip of knife under the silver skin, the membrane surrounding most of the muscle. Tilt edge of knife at a slight upward angle; cut away silver skin in a thin strip. Repeat all over tenderloin. Flip; trim away fatty flaps from back.
8. Slice off tail and butt end from the thick center portion, the chateaubriand.
9. Slice butt end and chateaubriand into 2"-3"-thick steaks.
10.Cut a 4"-5" piece off tail; cut it crosswise, three-fourths of the way through.
11. Open this piece at its hinge so that the cut ends face up; tie them together with kitchen twine to form a steak.
12. You should end up with 13-15 steaks; most of them are filet mignon. Wrap each steak in plastic wrap; refrigerate for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 6 months.

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